Upcoming Important Dates
Apr 8 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gym
Apr 11 – 8th Grade Celebration Organizing Meeting 6:00 pm
Apr 12 – All Gorham Chorus Night at GHS
Apr 13 – School Committee Meeting 7:00 pm at the Municipal Center
Apr 15 – Spring Break begins at the dismissal of students
Apr 28 – 5th Grade Parent Night at GMS 6:00 pm in the Auditorium
8th Grade Celebration
I say this every year, but every year it is true, I can’t believe they year has gone by so fast!
There are some changes coming this year to how we can do the 8th Grade Celebration, mostly because old Mother Nature did not cooperate with us at all.
The way the school calendar was set, we needed to have with no snow days or three snow days. Gorham Middle School is a plodding place for the town of Gorham and, as such, we need to make our gymnasium available for the municipal elections and referendums on June 14. This also requires that the gymnasium be set up the evening prior to the election, Monday night, the night we would normally hold our 8th grade celebration.
What we plan now is to hold the celebration activities on Friday, June 10, with the annual 8th grade dance immediately after. The 8th graders will them come to school on Monday, June 13 for our annual step up day. When the students return from the High School, we will have the cookout that we usually have on the same day as the evening exercises. After the cookout, the students will go into the Auditorium for the showing of the slide show of the 8th graders. After the slideshow, they will head back to their advisory and conduct their final locker cleanup and good byes for the summer.
To put this plan in place, we will have an organizational meeting on Monday, April 11 at 6:00 pm, in the GMS Library. At this meeting, we will make decisions on committees, and the make up of those committees and talk about some of the challenges we usually face in putting the event together.
I hope many of you can make this meeting.
The Future of Education
Last week, I gave an article written by Will Richardson, to our faculty to read. Inside the article was a video of Russell Ackoff, Professor Emeritus from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ackoff was a pioneer in the field of systems engineering and social sciences. He had some pretty interesting ideas, and, given that the video included in the article was recorded about 8 years ago, long before many of the issues of education in America became hot button items, also very insightful.
The reason I gave this article to our staff is to begin to challenge our thinking about how we “do school” now. We are 15 years into the 21st Century, and how much have we changed relative to how much our students have changed.
What do I mean when I say our students have changed?
Sixty to seventy percent of our students at GMS have more technology on their phones than the students who graduated from GHS last June had on their MLTI laptops when they were attending middle school. That same percentage of students regularly participate in online games that require collaboration with friends and other people, some of whom they have never met. When our students encounter something that interests them, something they want to know more about, they don’t “Google it” any more, they go to Youtube or Vimeo and get “hands-on” instruction and information. If our students who want to know more about coding, there is a Youtube video lesson to help them. This is vastly different than before.
Education is about more than technology, however. it is about recognizing that our students come to school with greater set of experiences than students of five years ago, and knowing how to engage them where they are is our greatest challenge.
If you are interested in learning more about how we see the challenge of educating our young, I highly recommend you begin with Will Richardson. You may not agree with everything he says, I certainly don’t, but he does make you think about why we do what we do.
We are wrapping up our final week of MEA testing with the 6th grade students finishing up. This year was quite a bit different than the experience we had last year. While we definitely had a few “hiccups” as we worked through each grade, it was nothing like last year. To begin, the test was far less abstract. By that, I mean that the questions had one possible answer not 3 that “could have been correct” but which one was “more” correct!
Also, the platform that was used was far less complicated and way easier to use for our students.
But, by the end of this week, we will be done for another year, and then we’ll wait for the results and try to figure out what they mean!
I hope you all enjoy the Spring Break…